Life changing

Adding some colour to the Old Royal Naval College

David John Batchelor was born in Bromley, Kent, in 1960. Nowadays you’ll find him in Greenwich and according to him, he’s ‘gone up in the world’ with his current address just 500 yards from the River Thames.

David, 57, is a volunteer at National Lottery funded Old Royal Naval College - and his knowledge of the institution is encyclopaedic. Less than 10 minutes after meeting he told us that:

  • It took Sir James Thornhill 19 years to complete the ceiling in the Painted Hall (he started in 1707 and it’s currently being restored thanks in part to a £3.5Million grant from The National Lottery).
  • Sir James got £3 per square foot for painting the ceiling and £1 per square foot for painting the walls.
  • In order to complete the restoration work, the equivalent of 7.7 miles of scaffolding has been erected in the Painted Hall, which took 10 people and four months to build.

David says he’s never been happier than when volunteering at the Old Royal Naval College. Each year, it plays host to the Greenwich Music Time festival and to mark the occasion David dyes his hair a different colour every day of the festival.

David said, ‘I’ve dyed my hair every colour of the rainbow. It’s fine, it comes out in a couple of minutes, but God help me if it rains!’

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